It doesn’t often happen, but when it does its all the sweeter … Niki Matthews on that winning feeling in last Sunday’s second race
It takes an accumulation of positives to make the winning race. It means being on the start, at speed (not necessarily in the right place) and getting away with the gun.
It means there was no need to tack in the first 2-3 minutes and it means there was time to look around and see how the fleet was doing around you, It means getting to the weather mark in the first group (not necessarily first) and not making a bags of the rounding and spinnaker hoist.
Then it means consolidating on the run and using the time you are magically given to look around and see if you have completely gone down the wrong side (even if you have, it’s probably not so bad). Then its pure luck to catch a wave and squeeze in at the lower mark and pull out at speed and (guess what) no need to tack in the first 2-3 minutes … and repeat until the finish.
When it happens it seems so easy, we didn’t get caught under so-and-so who was cruising the line, we didn’t have to go right when we wanted to go left, we didn’t to go beyond the weather mark to find clear air, yer man didn’t crash tack under us at the mark, he wasn’t up our stern on the way down sucking the life out of the sail and then getting a dubious overlap at the bottom, then the other fella didn’t harden up at the lower mark and make us dive off and lose even more distance,,,
There is a whole lot of talk about winning and skills, 5 degree shifts, line bias, getting inside the lift, you’ve heard it all. Ultimately the winning race is the one you seem to race yourself, not someone else’s race you are caught in. Time arrives in droves and everything seems clear, it,s the perfect mix, it,s what keeps us going out time and time again.
The perfect race, IRL 3708 !